Congress Submission on Same Sex Marriage to Constitutional Convention
Congress launches guidelines in partnership with GLEN and TENI
12 October 2011: Congress has launched two guides in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network and the Transgender Equality Netowrk Ireland:
Minister Kathleen Lynch and Davin Roche from GLEN at launch of guidelines. (Pic John Chaney)Congress and GLEN LGBT resource available in ISSU format here and PDF here:Minister Kathleen Lynch and Broden Giambrone, TENI (Pic John Chaney)
Trade Unions at Dublin Pride
Maire Mulcahy (ASTI), Mike Jennings (IFUT); Bernie Ruane (TUI President) and Noirin Flynn (INTO President) at Dublin Pride.Trade Unions proudly marched in Dublin Pride on 30th June 2012 More here
Trade Unions were among the tens of thousands of people and groups at Dublin Pride March on saturday 25th June 2011. Trade unions Siptu, Unite and the three teaching unions were all present. "It's a human thing" was the message that came from floats, open-top buses, banners, badges.T here was a great turnout of members and supporters, including the INTO President Ms. Noreen Flynn, TUI President Ms. Bernie Ruane, and the INTO and ASTI Equality Officers. The three groups were joined by representatives from IFUT and PSEU. The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, and TDs John Lyons and Kevin Humphreys also joined the group for a photograph as the parade moved off.Jo Meek and Francis Loughlin from Unite's LGBT committee
There was a fantastic atmosphere in the city, with spectators lining the streets along the whole route from Parnell Sq. to Christchurch. The teacher union groups got a particularly warm reception from spectators, standing out in their rainbow coloured caps and gowns.The INTO LGB group crossing O’Connell Bridge
Congress has campaigned on the need to repeal section 37(1) of the Employment Equality Act - see here.SIPTU member, Ross Higgins at Dublin Pride
We recently reiterated our position to Minister Kathleen Lynch, urging her to implement the commitment in the program for government;" In Education section: "People of non faith or minority religious backgrounds and publically identified LGBT people should not be deterred from training or taking up employment as teachers in the State".
Transsexual Workers awarded €35,000 by Equality Tribunal
Louise Hannon was awarded €35,000 by the Equality Tribunal on Monday 18 April 2011. The Full case reference is: DEC-E2011-066: An Employee -v- An Employer. Grounds / Issues: Conditions of Employment, Discriminatory Dismissal, Gender, Disability.Award:€35422.71 Redress and full text available here.
The outcome has been welcomed by Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) who said: "This is a significant step for transgender equality in Ireland. An important precedent has been set in recognising the inclusion of transgender people under the gender ground of equality legislation. More here.
The Equality Authority has also welcomed the 'ground breaking' decision awarding €35,000 to a Transsexual Worker. The case is one of great interest to the trade union movement. We are currently finalising some workplace guidelines for trade unions with TENI.
Trade Unions welcome Civil Partnership
The Dáil has completed its work on the Civil Partnership Bill, which is expected to be signed into law in the autumn. Congress welcomes the passing of this historic legislation which will extend marriage-like benefits to gay and lesbian couples across a range of areas such as property, social welfare, succession, maintenance, pensions and tax. The civil partnership legislation does not represent full marriage equality however - a key omission is the fact that it does not provide any right for same-sex couples with children to be legally recognised as joint parents. Congress will be producing guidance for lgbt workers and trade unions in the autumn. Kieran Rose, Chair of GLEN called it "a major civil rights reform and a great achievement for Irish society."
Trade Union Banners on Dublin Pride 2010 (pic Paula Geraghty, NUJ)Dublin Pride 2010: This year's PRIDE festival theme "We Are Family Too" highlighted the fact that LGBTQ families inhabit a legal limbo without recognition or protection from the State and with no legal rights or constitutional recognition. Anne Speed and Louise O'Reilly with SIPTU banner at Dublin Pride 2010Browse the festival programme for many events that have been organized as part of this year's festival. This year's Pride parade was held on Saturday 26th June and the Grand Marshall was Dr. Lydia Foy - who recently won a landmark case in the supreme court - see case report. There was a great trade union presence on the march.
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Workplace Diversity Guide launched in Dublin 24th March 2010.
Davin Roche (GLEN); Tanaiste Mary Coughlan, TD; and David Joyce Congress at the launch of the workplace guideCongress welcomes the above publication by GLEN (supported by the employer's representative body IBEC, multinational IBM, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Business in the Community and the Equality Authority). The Guide published by GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network), is a practical toolkit for employers and trades unions in implementing cultural and diversity policies in the workplace for their Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) employees. Read full Press Release. The guide was published on the day that the Committee stage of the Civil Partnership Bill commenced in the Oireachtas. The enactment will deliver urgently needed protections for lesbian and gay couples and has the full support of Congress as illustrated by the motion passed at our conference in July 2009
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues at work
In recent years, equality on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity has become a priority for many trade unions. Often working in cooperation with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) trade union and community-based activists have been stressing that it is critically important that LGTB equality issues are dealt with in the workplace.
The ETUC have published a report 'Extending equality: Trade union actions to organise and promote equal rights, respect and dignity for workers regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity' .
See also the ETUC web page on LGBT issues
Congress Guidelines on Lesbian Gay and Bisexual issues at work
Congress seeks meeting with Minister Mary White to seek equality for Teachers
Congress has written to Minister Mary White to once again seek amendment of Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act. The issue has recently come to light once again with the reports into child abuse in the Catholic Church and the excellent RTE TV series, Growing up Gay. It is also covered by Una Mullally in an excellent piece in the Sunday Tribune (April 25th 2010)
Affiliate Unions and LGBT issues
Association of Secondary Teachers Gay and Lesbian network
INTO Lesbian Gay Bisexual Teacher's Group have launched LGB workplace guidelines- "Anseo! Creating an Inclusive Staffroom for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Staff - Good Practice Guidelines" at a Conference in Dublin on Saturday, 10 October 2009. Report of conference available here. Please contact the Equality Section in INTO at email@example.com 01 8047700 for further info
Cathal Ó Riada, Chairperson INTO LGB Group, Sen Katherine Zappone, and INTO President Noreen Flynn (Photo by Moya Nolan)Senator Katherine Zappone (Saturday 3rd March 2012) launched the INTO LGB Group's Leaflet on Good Practice Guidelines to create an inclusive staffroom.
The PSEU has collected data to ascertain whether Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) members are satisfied that their workplace is free from discrimination. This is intended to help the union to learn what actions they might need to take to address any concerns these members might have. Read more
UNISON LGBT members website
UNITE LGBT Ireland
Listening to the Voices of the LGBT Community
The National Lesbian and Gay Federation (NLGF) has launched (12th November, 2009) a new research report, Burning Issues: Listening to the Voices of the LGBT Community. The Burning Issues study, supported by SIPTU and the Equality Authority, is the first research report to provide a comprehensive overview of the attitudes and opinions of the LGBT community in Ireland on the key issues of vital importance to them. The research reveals that equality in the workplace is the top concern of LGBT people in Ireland.
Guidance for School Principals on LGB Issues Launched
Minister Seán Haughey TD today launched the first comprehensive guidance for schools on sexual orientation issues which is backed by all the Education Partners, including the ASTI and the TUI. The Guidance was produced by the Department of Education and GLEN and will support schools in tackling homophobic bullying and in providing a safe and supportive environment for lesbian, gay and bisexual students. Read Press release
Marriage Matters for Lesbian and Gay People in Ireland, Symposium Proceedings
The NLGF has also published the report of the proceedings of the symposium Marriage Matters for Lesbian and Gay People in Ireland that was held on 7th May 2009 in Dublin. The symposium contributed to the creation of a strong platform across civil society for the achievement of civil marriage rights for LGBT people in Ireland. One of the key actions arising from the symposium was that LGBT organisations should strengthen their alliance with trade unions in their campaign for civil marriage rights and equality in the workplace.
TUC LGBT Conference 2011
Have a look at video coverage from 2011 TUC LGBT Conference, Frances O'Grady and The pensions strikes and the TUC LGBT conference.
Focussing on bisexual trade unionists
The TUC placed a short questionnaire on its website in December 2009 and advised unions of its presence, to encourage bisexual members to respond. The questionnaire asked respondents to identify their union, their gender (or transgender status), and answer questions on whether they were 'out' as bisexual, whether they faced harassment from managers or colleagues, and their experience of their union's LGBT structures. See here for more
Out at Work
A unionlearn/TUC Education workbook on LGBT people in the workplace. This book is about the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people at work and in the trade union movement. It is written for all workplace representatives and union branches. It aims to help workplace reps understand: the historical and legal context of issues affecting LGBT members, key social and employment issues facing LGBT members, the workplace rep's role in relation to LGBT issues and why these issues are trade union issues.
The TUC on lgbt issues
Liverpool and Everton football clubs join unions to tackle homophobia in sport
Liverpool and Everton FC joined with unions in Liverpool on Wednesday (16 September 2009) to step up the fight against homophobia in sport.The TUC's lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) committee held a fringe meeting at the Jury's Inn Hotel during the unions annual Congress. Read more
Civil Partnership Bill Debate
Congress has welcomed the publication of the Civil Partnership Bill that allows for same-sex couples to register their civil partnership for the first time and give others many of the statutory rights afforded to married couples. This proposed new legal structure at last offers the possibility of recognition and protection of same sex relationships, a long standing call by Congress. We note the distinction made with regard to marriage and debated this issue at our Biennial Delegate Conference, in Tralee from July 7-10. A motion on Equal Opportunities for Same Sex Couples was accepted with a proposed amendment outlining that full civil marriage was the full equality option. The Bill has the potential to deal with many issues facing same sex couples, including that of being dealt with in the same way as a married couple by the Revenue Commissioners. Congress also welcomes the fact that the new Bill puts in place a legal safety net for people living in long-term relationships who might be vulnerable financially at the end of a relationship, whether through break-up or through bereavement and the granting of legal recognition to agreements enabling cohabitants to regulate their joint financial and property affairs. A range of rights and duties including maintenance obligations, protection of a shared home, pension rights and succession all covered under the bill are also welcome.
However, a critical omission from the Bill is the lack of legal recognition and support of children being parented by same sex couples. This is an issue Congress will pursue as the Bill goes through the Oireachtas.
The Bill marks a significant step forward however in the long journey towards equality for lesbian and gay people in our workplaces and society. It has lead to much debate between what has been characterised as pragmatism versus idealism..
Congress is a supporter of Pride. See details for Dublin 2009
Trade union participation in PRIDE
SIPTU Participants at Dublin Pride Parade June 2009 SIPTU participants at Dublin Pride Parade, June 2009
European Union Fundamental Rights Agency Study
FRA's comprehensive study on homophobia and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the EU shows the true extent of this problem. This two-part study was requested by the European Parliament to examine the need for new Community legislation to combat discrimination. The FRA reports find that dscrimination affects the lives of LGBT persons in all walks of life, ranging from harassment in schools to discrimination in employment or health care.
They also note that comprehensive legal protection, as well as wider powers and resources for equality bodies are required throughout the EU. FRA calls upon all EU governments to support the proposed EU anti-discrimination legislation to close existing loopholes and increase protection for LGBT persons. The section of the report on Ireland finds that Public opinion is supportive of legislating for same sex couples; the legal framework for prohibiting discrimination has improved significantly with the introduction of the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2004 and the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004 covering nine grounds, including sexual orientation and gender. The EqualityTribunal handles complaints, though the number of sexual orientation and transgender cases is remarkably low; and the invisibility of LGB identities in school curricula is a significant problem for young LGB persons.
International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia 2010
On International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia 2010 (16th May), the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has expressed its solidarity with all workers facing discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity in Europe and beyond. Trade Unions across the world are at the forefront in defending human rights. This fight not only includes trade union rights, but it also covers a strong commitment to equal treatment and non-discrimination as well as respect and dignity for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT). More here
Meanwhile, the Equal Rights Trust (ERT) has called upon all countries to repeal laws that perpetuate LGBTI discrimination and for human rights organisations to put LGBTI equality among their strategic priorities. This year the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia is focused on exposing and opposing the negative impact of religious fundamentalist discourses and giving visibility to voices who are working for inclusion, tolerance and peace.
International Day Against Homophobia 2009
Congress is urging people to remember lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who have been killed around the world on International Day Against Homophobia this Sunday (17 May). There are 77 countries in the world today where it is a criminal offence to be gay. In seven countries women, men and children are punished for their sexuality with death sentences. Recent reports from Iraq reveal that the names of LGBT people are being fly-posted on streets, and those people are then being hunted down and murdered by gangs and the police simply because of their sexuality. International Day Against Homophobia is an opportunity for unions to highlight the suffering of LGBT people all around the world, and demand that the way they are treated is improved - both in the workplace and in the wider community. Sign the international appeal.
Transgender people and the Gender Recast Directive - Implementation Guidelines (December 2009)
The aim of these International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) Guidelines is to provide an introduction to the content of the Gender Recast Directive and an overview of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice, and their relevance for trans people living in the European Union. These Guidelines are also designed to give guidance on how to improve the implementation of the Gender Recast Directive vis-a-vis gender identity, and to ensure equality for all trans people in the countries where the Directive is applicable.
Among the lgbt groups Congress has contact with are:
- National Lesbian and Gay Federation (NLGF)
- GLEN - the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network; Congrats to GLEN on their 2010 People of the Year Award!
- TENI - Transgender Equality Netowrk
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).
- LGBT Helpline is a non-judgmental and confidential service providing listening, support and information to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, their family and friends, and to those who are questioning if they might be LGBT.